Create or participate in a marketing/outreach/incentive program to promote/achieve residential energy/water use reduction and energy efficiency.
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Buildings and Lighting
Provide incentives for energy, water and sustainability improvements in existing residential, not-for-profit and commercial buildings/building sites.
Integrate green building and EV charging best practices information and assistance into the building permit process.
Implement an energy rating/disclosure policy for residential and/or commercial buildings.
Describe energy/water efficiency outcomes and other green building practices at businesses and not-for-profit organizations located within/nearby the city.
Conserve/protect drinking/groundwater resources by creating a water-wise landscaping ordinance/guidance, WaterSense purchasing program, or guidance on rainwater harvesting and home water softener use.
Construct new buildings to meet or qualify under a green building framework.
Work with the local school district to ensure that future new schools are built using the SB 2030 energy standard and/or a green building framework.
Create economic and regulatory incentives for redevelopment and repurposing of existing buildings.
Plan for reuse of large-format retail buildings, or work with a local school, church or commercial building to either add-on space or repurpose space into new uses.
Create/modify a green residential remodeling assistance/financing program to assist homeowners in adding space or features such as EV charging, renewables to their existing homes.
Build public support and legal validity to long-term infrastructural and regulatory strategy.
Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a future land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity.
Adopt climate mitigation and/or energy independence goals and objectives in the comprehensive plan or in a separate policy document, and include transportation recommendations such as becoming an EV-ready city.
Increase financial and environmental sustainability by enabling and encouraging walkable housing and retail land use.
Use design to create social trust and interaction among neighbors and allow developments that meet the prerequisites for LEED for Neighborhood Development certification.
Develop efficient land patterns that generate community health and wealth.
Organize or participate in a community planning/placemaking/design process for the city/a mixed-use district, including specific community engagement practices that engage cultural and income diverse community members.
Adopt development ordinances or processes that protect natural systems and valued community assets.
Preserve environmentally sensitive, community-valued land by placing a conservation easement on city lands, and by encouraging/funding private landowners to place land in conservation easements.
Support and protect wildlife through habitat rehabilitation, preservation and recognition programs.
Create a network of green complete streets that improves city quality of life, public health, and adds value to surrounding properties.
Identify, prioritize and remedy complete streets gaps and lack of connectivity/safety within your road network by, for example, bike/pedestrian plan, adding a bike route/lane, truck route, sidewalk or mid-block alley.
Identify and remedy street-trail gaps between city streets and off-road trails/bike trails to better facilitate walking and biking.
Increase active transportation and alternatives to single-occupancy car travel.
Increase walking, biking and transit use by one or more of the following means:
Conduct an Active Living campaign such as a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program.
Prominently promote mobility options: public transit; paratransit/Dial-A-Ride; cab services; rental cars; bike lanes; trails; airports.
Promote carpooling, ridesharing, carsharing, and bikesharing.
Implement workplace multi-modal transportation best management practices - including telework/flexwork - in city government, businesses or at a local health care provider.
Add/expand public transit service.
Adopt environmentally preferable purchasing policies and practices to improve health and environmental outcomes.
Establish purchasing preferences that support local, Minority, Disability, and Women-Owned businesses and, working with a local business association, develop a list of locally-produced products and suppliers for common purchases.
Lower the environmental footprint of meetings and events in the city.
Add city tree and plant cover that conserves topsoils and increases community health, wealth, quality of life.
Certify as a Tree City USA.
Build community capacity to protect existing trees by one or more of:
Conduct a tree inventory or canopy study for public and private trees.
Minimize the volume of and pollutants in rainwater runoff by maximizing green infrastructure.
Create a stormwater utility that uses variable fees to incentivize stormwater infiltration, minimize the volume of and pollutants in runoff, and educate property owners and renters on the importance of managing stormwater runoff.
Adopt and implement guidelines or design standards/incentives for at least one of the following stormwater infiltration/reuse practices:
Improve smart-salting by reducing chloride use in winter maintenance and dust suppressants to prevent permanent surfacewater and groundwater pollution.
Increase active lifestyles and property values by enhancing the city's green infrastructure.
Certify at least one golf course in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.
Develop a program to involve community members in hands-on land restoration, invasive species management and stewardship projects.
Improve local water bodies to sustain their long-term ecological function and community benefits.
Conduct or support multi-party community conversations, assessments, plans and actions around improving local water quality and quantity.
Adopt and publicly report on measurable surface water improvement targets for lake, river, wetland and ditches.
Adopt a shoreland ordinance for all river and lake shoreland areas.
Adopt goals to revegetate shoreland and create a local program or outreach effort to help property owners with revegetation.
Create/assist a Lake Improvement District.
Reduce flooding damage and costs through the National Flood Insurance Programs and the NFIP’s Community Rating System.
Assess and improve city drinking water and wastewater systems and related facilities.
Implement a wastewater plant efficiency project (co-generation, water reuse) or a program for local private business operations (water conservation, water reuse, business co-location).
Create a demand-side pricing program to reduce demands on water and wastewater systems.
Implement an environmentally sound management program for decentralized wastewater treatment systems.
Report to landowners suspected noncompliant or failing septic systems as part of an educational, informational and financial assistance and outreach program designed to trigger voluntary landowner action to improve septic systems.
Use a community process to address failing septic systems.
Work with homeowners and businesses in environmentally sensitive areas and areas where standard septic systems are not the least-cost option to promote innovative waste water systems, including central sewer extensions.
Arrange for assistance to commercial, retail and industrial businesses with water use reduction, pollution prevention and pretreatment prior to discharge to septics.
Increase waste prevention, reuse and recycling, moving to a lower-consumption, more cyclical, biological approach to materials management.
Address concerns over consumer products and packaging through encouragement/implementation of one or more of:
Publicize, promote and use the varied businesses/services collecting and marketing used, repaired and rental consumer goods, especially electronics, in the city/county.
Arrange for a residential and/or business/institutional source-separated organics collection/management program.
Improve recycling services and expand to multi-unit housing and commercial businesses.
Improve/organize residential trash, recycling and organics collection by private and/or public operations and offer significant volume-based pricing on residential garbage and/or incentives for recycling.
Adopt a construction and demolition (C&D) ordinance governing demolition permits that requires a level of recycling and reuse for building materials and soil/land-clearing debris.
Prevent generation of local air contaminants so as to improve community health.
Replace small internal combustion engine lawn and garden equipment (e.g. lawnmowers, weed whips, etc.) with lower polluting equipment.
Reduce residential burning of wood and yard waste and eliminate ‘backyard’ trash burning.
Decrease air emissions from vehicle idling, business trucking, and pollutants/noise from stationary engines/back-up generators.
Install, assist with and promote publicly available EV charging stations or public fueling stations for alternative fuel vehicles.
Resilient Economic and Community Development
Adopt outcome measures for GreenStep and other city sustainability efforts, and engage community members in ongoing education, dialogue, and campaigns.
Inclusive and Coordinated Decision-Making: Use a city commission or committee to lead, coordinate, report to and engage community members on the identification and equitable implementation of sustainability best practices.
Communicating Progress on Goals: Organize goals/outcome measures from all city plans (social, environmental, economic) and report to community members data that show progress toward meeting these goals.
Measuring Outcomes: Engage community members and partners in identifying, measuring, and reporting progress on key sustainability and social indicators/ including energy use/greenhouse gas emissions, social vitality/social inclusion outcome measures.
Public Education for Action: Conduct or support a broad sustainability education and action campaign, building on existing city & community relationships, networks & events involving:
Planning with a Purpose: Conduct a community visioning and planning initiative that engages a diverse set of community members & stakeholders and uses a sustainability, resilience, or environmental justice framework such as:
Engaging the Next Generation: Engage wide representation of community youth and college students by creating opportunities to participate in city government (including commissions).
Expand a greener, more resilient business sector.
Grow new/emerging green businesses and green jobs through targeted assistance and new workforce development.
Create or participate in a marketing/outreach program to connect businesses with assistance providers, including utilities, who provide personalized energy, waste or sustainability audits and assistance.
Promote sustainable tourism in your city, and green tourism resources to tourism and hospitality businesses in/around the city.
Promote green businesses that are recognized under a local, regional or national program.
Conduct or participate in a buy local campaign for community members and local businesses.
Remove barriers to and encourage installation of renewable energy generation capacity.
Promote resident/business purchases and/or generation of clean energy by:
Promote financing and incentive programs, such as PACE, for clean energy:
Support a community solar garden or help community members participate in a community solar project by:
Strengthen local food production and access.
Facilitate creation of home/community gardens, chicken & bee keeping, and incorporation of food growing areas/access in multifamily and residential developments.
Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:
Measurably increase institutional buying and sales of foods and fibers that are local, Minnesota-grown, organic, healthy, humanely raised, and grown by fairly compensated growers.
Assess, plan for, and enhance the community’s local food system.
Plan and prepare for extreme weather, adapt to changing climatic conditions, and foster stronger community connectedness and social and economic vitality.
Prepare to maintain public health and safety during extreme weather and climate-change-related events, while also taking a preventive approach to reduce risk for community members.
Increase social connectedness through engagement, capacity building, public investment, and opportunities for economically vulnerable residents to improve their economic prosperity and resilience to climate change.
Encourage private sector action and incentivize investment in preventive approaches that reduce risk and minimize impacts of extreme weather and the changing climate for human health and the built environment.